With the elections three short months away, RNC Chairman Michael Steele is focused. Unfortunately, he is focused, as always, on Michael Steele. That’s the only conclusion I can draw from his bizarre decision to try and set up meetings with foreign ambassadors to the United States.
Politico has obtained a message sent by an RNC intern last month to one such ambassador. It states, in part:
As you know, the November election is just 103 days away and the Chairman would like to extend to you an invitation to sit down either at the RNC or at your embassy to discuss the upcoming 2010 midterm elections. With literally hundreds of congressional seats up for grabs in just under four months, Chairman Steel [sic] would love to have the opportunity to discuss the Party’s outlook with you.
Apparently, it’s not unheard for a national party chairman to meet with foreign diplomats. But some Republican leaders say they are baffled as to why Steele would be working the diplomatic corps this close to the election, when there is so much else to be done. As former RNC chairman James Nicholson put it: “They can’t give any money and they can’t vote; I don’t know why you’d take time to [meet them].”
The answer probably lies not in what contact with diplomats can do for the party, but rather in what such contact can do for Steele. Politico explans:
Steele has long sought to cultivate foreign officials. As Maryland’s lieutenant governor he spent more than $60,000 of state money for at least seven trips overseas, heading to such places as France, Austria, South Africa and Israel for what his staff at the time said were trade missions.
After he left office in 2007, Steele was hired onto a global law firm, then called LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, in part because of the relationships he had developed abroad.
“Based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, he will focus on corporate securities, government relations and international affairs with an emphasis on Africa,” the firm announced when Steele joined, noting that as lieutenant governor he had been “deeply engaged in the state’s business and economic development activities, forging key international relationships to expand Maryland’s global economic interests.”
Steele, in short, appears to be working on his resume by trying to “forge” more “key international relationships.” He is looking forward to life after his time at the RNC, and so is nearly every Repubican I know.